Ko-I-Nor - from India to the Crown of the Queen Mother
Location: Tower of London
Address: St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB
The man who possesses the Ko-I-Noor diamond will rule the world, but will be plagued by misfortune; when, rather, the gem is in the hands of a woman, a lucky star shines on her. How could an ancient legend be wrong? Arriving from India in the middle of the 1800s, this spectacular precious stone embellished the crown of Queen Victoria and Queen Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, two women who lived long lives. The name literally means “Mountain of Light” - when it came to the West with its 105 carats, the Ko-I-Noor was the largest known diamond in the world. How did the English gain possession of it? Not in the most proper of ways. The jewel was offered by the Sikhs as part of the peace accords at the end of the War for Punjab. A small detail - the accord was signed by a thirteen-year-old, the son of the deceased sovereign who, for the occasion - according to Indian sources - was taken from his mother and other loved ones. For this reason, today, India is demanding the jewel’s return, in line with other competitors, such as Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The colonial chapter was one of the last adventures of the Ko-I-Noor. Already known of by the XIII Century, the diamond bounced from hand to hand, leaving a wake of horrors behind it - poisonings, torture, decapitations and lies have followed the stone from Persia to the Mogul Empire, from the Peacock Throne to the palaces of Afghanistan and Punjab. And they say that they prefer rubies in the Orient.
Seventy years of encounters, clashes, journeys and metamorphoses, but, above all, an explosion of creativity - all this at the Tate Britain in the largest exhibition ever dedicated to the artistic ties between the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.